Belarusian PEN Center to be liquidated

The PEN Center has promised to reveal the reasons for its liquidation later.

Illustration photo. The book “Revolution” by a member of PEN-centre Viktar Martsinovich. XXVII Minsk International Book Fair. February 20, 2021. Photo: TK / Belsat

The Supreme Court of Belarus has opened a civil case against the Ministry of Justice to close down the Belarusian PEN-Center. The organization received a letter about it on July 22. The reason for the liquidation suit is not mentioned in the part of the letter published by PEN, but the Center has promised to tell the reason later.

However, the letter invited PEN Center representatives for an interview before the trial at 10 a.m. on July 20 — two days before PEN received the letter.

The PEN Center was searched during a wave of “purges” last week. The search took place at a legal address where no one was physically present because the office works remotely due to the pandemic.

During the “purge,” the Ministry of Justice also planned to liquidate the Belarusian Association of Journalists and demanded the activities of the ‘For Freedom’ movement to stop.

The PEN Center is an association of professional writers (the name comes from the trio “poets, essayists and novelists) founded in 1989. It organizes a long series of literary prizes and festivals, a residence for young writers in Vilnius, a translation workshop, and a creative writing school. It is a member of the International PEN Club. It is chaired by Svetlana Alexievich.

Members include Uladzimir Arlou, Natallia Babina, Alherd Bakharevich, Ales Byalyatski, Lyavon Volsky, Adam Hlobus, Syarhei Dubavets, Maksim Zhbankou, Andrei Kureichyk, Maryia Martysevich, Viktar Martsinovich, Uladzimir Nyaklyaieu, Alyaksandr Fyaduta, Andrey Khadanovich, and many other writers and people of different professions associated with literature.

belsat. eu